LOOSE SUTURES – A Gash With Sharp Teeth and Other Tales (2021)REVIEW

Faced with a lost appendage or a freshly horrifying psychic void, why not simply lose it? Whomever you thought you knew you were hardly matters now. Flail the stump, curb stomp the ego, curse the void and embrace what comes next… knowing you’ll lose that too. Ancient garage punk-stoked psychedelic/stoner rock quartet Loose Sutures might’ve been having a Hell of a good time gearing up a couple of years ago and quickly putting out a solid debut record but, having the masthead broken off their crystal ship soon after has arguably brought out the best in ’em for album number two. A character rich and self-assured record like ‘A Gash With Sharp Teeth and Other Tales‘ wouldn’t have been possible without adaptation and self-reinvention fueling the end result. Figure your own valuation on the triumph of proto-punk impassioned stoner/psych rock sleaze jams against all odds folks, few will argue against this band claiming their first mountain beyond a mole hill here on this second full-length.

Formed in Sardinia, Italy circa the “last” summer of 2019 and presumably named after a Fuzz song Loose Sutures developed their sound within a vortex that’d identified some reasonable rhythmic connections between classic early 70’s psychedelic rock, late 90’s stoner rock retro-isms, and the rhythmic language shared between garage punk and heavy psych. The result was arguably akin to modern-yet-classicist doom rock ideals but served with distorted vocals and simpler punk influenced arrangements. Their self-titled debut album (‘Loose Sutures‘, 2020) reviewed well even if it’d come across a bit green in terms of presentation and an excess of ideas. The sound was almost there, the satanic panic inspired 70’s stoner/psych punk gig was memorable to be sure but soon after that album released vocalist/guitarist Gianpaolo Cherchi left and new guitarist Giuseppe Hussain soon took over, sharing vocal duties with the rest of the band. The result, from my point of view, is a band working together and working better than before as they find less predictable jams that land easier, dirtier and more infectious than before. This sea change lands Loose Sutures less in the punkish doom-rocked post-Electric Wizard buzz of Devil’s Witches and Mephistopheles and closer to a band like The Black Furs (see: ‘Doomed Blues‘) on songs like “Sunny Cola” and “Black Lips”. You’ve changed, man.

Though Loose Sutures had already been fairly sparse in terms of lyrics, presenting jabbing mantra and sharp turns of phrase, this sparsity yet keeps the vibe fluid, allowing the late 60’s/early 70’s not-so-bluesy movement to work itself up into anthemic, anti-social stoner riff music. A sock of echo-heavy early 90’s Los Angeles stoner rock and an extra dose of blues-junking Sabbath grooves dust up most of Side A, reaching an motor-ready apex on “Last Cry”. Think of this initial rush as if those early singles from Warish were way more jam-oriented and less self-conscious, dropping the late 80’s noise rock dissent for retro freak-fuzzing garage punk abandon (“Stupid Boy”) — The sweet spot for Loose Sutures is somewhere between the bumble of late 60’s heavy psychedelic rock paranoia (Blue Cheer ‘Outsideinside’) and the comedown of proto-punk rock a la The Stooges ‘Funhouse’. They’re generations ahead of anything too purely retro in terms of the larger welding done here but, when considered as a whole, the jangling garage punk/heavy psych admixture brings a sense of the unpredictable to ‘A Gash With Sharp Teeth and Other Tales’ or, a sense of spontaneity and classicism which is rarely achieved within the stoner music realm.

Finding the deep cuts that’ll make ‘A Gash With Sharp Teeth and Other Tales’ stick won’t serve a huge challenge though I’d found the three preview songs generally provide a thorough enough first impression of the album, though leading with “Mephisto Rising” probably turned more stoner/doom metal heads than the album as a whole will. Paired with the even more exuberant jam of “Superfast”, “Animal House” ended up being my favorite piece on the album both for the simplicity of its high-flying main riff and for the sake of it being the moment Loose Sutures embraces their heavy psych side down to the bone. No matter where these guys go they’ve kept their bad acid trippin’ spin on it; This ability to pursue a broader spectrum of the heavy blues experience and still hold fast to a crooked ideal kept my blood moving and held my interest throughout the full listen. The weird one, the bonafide single and piece that’ll likely be remembered best from the album is “Sunny Cola” with its slinking opening guitar lines and creeped n’ cryptic lyrics which take a turn for the heavy around ~1:14 minutes into the song. I emphasize this piece because it highlights just how much of a bold stretch beyond the original quartet’s debut it is even when allowing for a general uptick in production values and rendering.

Not just another day in paradise and not necessarily a graveyard lurker either, the dark-sided heavy psychedelic/stoner ease of Loose Sutures bears strangest, moderately poisonous fruit this time around and I’m on board for the time being. They’d had a cool enough “almost there” idea before and now, for my own taste, they’re memorable-assed contenders on ‘A Gash With Sharp Teeth and Other Tales’. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (77/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:A Gash With Sharp Teeth and Other Tales
LABEL(S):Electric Valley Records
RELEASE DATE:October 15th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Heavy Psychedelic Rock,
Stoner/Doom Rock

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